When you look at Denny Hamlin’s Talladega Superspeedway run, you can’t say that running well at the back was a mistake; that was their strategy. I don’t know if I like that strategy. I don’t know if I saw any team with that strategy end up with a good finish.
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In terms of the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup, though, what I see with Hamlin is little by little, he’s losing ground.
After the Dover race, they were 16 points back. Now they’re 25 points back. They just keep losing a little bit of ground, a little bit of ground, a little bit of ground, and they’re going to have to start making some ground up. They’re going to have to make ground up on two race teams — one in particular — that just don’t seem to be faltering.
Brad Keselowski has the points lead with a consistent string of finishes, while Jimmie Johnson is in second. Hamlin has fallen behind both of them.
The one race for Keselowski that I raise an eyebrow about will be a racetrack where the other two drivers that are on his heels, Johnson and Hamlin, are strong. That would be Martinsville Speedway. Keselowski has a 14-point lead in the standings, and that’s really a pretty decent points lead, especially when you look at a team that’s had 13 top-10 finishes in its past 14 races.
Still, it’s not over.
Like Keselowski told me, we don’t race the stats book. But it’s hard to argue those numbers right now.